Research Grant - 2012

Research Category: Brain Injury Award

Dr Janine Cooper was the recipient of Brain Foundation grant funding in 2012

Brain Injury Award

Brain Injury Award
Neural basis of adolescent recovery post brain injury
Dr Janine Cooper
Murdoch Children's Research Institute and Royal Children’s Hospital
Funded By Decima Strachan Charitable Trust and Marjorie Grace Lawn Estates
Co-Investigators : Professor Vicki Anderson and Ms Ashley Di Battista

Of all the issues that face a child or adolescent after traumatic brain injury (TBI), one of the most common and challenging to their quality of life (QoL) is a failure to recall personal memories involving the self, known as autobiographical memory (ABM). In moderate to severe cases, many cannot lead a normal life and show problems at school, college and in the workplace where they fail to recall previous events and timelines and are unable to make future plans. Many require regular supervision, which affects their ability to form strong friendships at a crucial stage of personality development. These factors have a huge impact on their sense of autonomy and the overall mental health of the adolescent and their family. Current methodology for identifying problems with ABM is limited and few treatments are available. In direct

response to the high prevalence of TBI, the lack of support to aid memory problems in younger people and the resultant negative impact that this has on QoL, we have developed a computerised rehabilitation system. Treatment is delivered by an avatar/ virtual reality peer and includes systematic instructional methods in a contextsensitive approach, with relevance to everyday life, which will assist with the maintenance of skills and provide opportunities for generalization of learnt skills. A great strength of this system is that rehabilitation can be delivered remotely and have a wide reaching effect to help those who cannot travel to hospitals and rehabilitation

centres. It directly addresses a need for greater access to rehabilitation of cognitive impairment after brain injury for children/adolescents. The research will also use structural and functional neuroimaging to provide clinicians with a greater understanding of brain related changes associated with this treatment at a time of development when the brain is thought to have greater adaptability to injury.


Brain FoundationThe Brain Foundation is the largest, independent funder of brain and spinal injury research in Australia. We believe research is the pathway to recovery.